james ray johnson

Annette (not my mom)

My mother wanted to honor her daddy by looking her best at his funeral, so she got her hair done up in a Bee Hive style for the occasion (ala Annette Funicello.)

It was raining that day, so she decided to reinforce her hive with some aerosol hairspray.

She and my sister rushed back into the house and into the bathroom. Mom quickly grabbed the can and wooshed it all around her head making sure to thoroughly coat every strand.

The effect was slightly delayed, but then it happened. Mom’s hairdo began to grow and glow.  It was poofing out exponentially.  She produced an instantaneous swirling, stark white afro. 

And that’s what happens when you spray your hair with Scrubbing Bubbles, which according to the manufacturer, is a “deep penetrating foam that clings to your bathroom surfaces.” (and your hair)   

My sister laughed hysterically until mom chased her out the house.  My mother finally got it under control and made the funeral in time – and she had several women tell her how wonderful she smelled.  (Plus her hair had no unsightly ring.) 

Things like that just happen when we aren’t careful about the outward appearance.  Worse things happen when we aren’t careful about our inward essence. 

The apostle Peter put it this way, “Let your beauty not be external—the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes, but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”  1 Peter 3:3-4 – NET Bible ®

He addressed women in this case, but his counsel certainly applies to men as well.  He understood that we all like to look our best.  Nothing wrong with that.  Although some of us are quite handicapped. 

Someone once gave me the nickname, “The meandering torso” because my upper torso is disproportionately long compared to my bottom section (which is why my pants tend to sag, or at least that’s what I blame) 

Even I would like to look good, but Peter says, “Hey don’t just give attention to your outer appearance, think about your inner essence as well.  He called it, “the inner person” –  the person “of the heart.” 

Peter argued that it was quality in the inner person persona that grabs the attention of God.  It is “precious in His sight.”   The rest of us find it pretty attractive as well.

Gentleness in a person is alluring while harshness is repelling.  Patience is beautiful; a short-tempered person is beastly.  Kindness is a knockout while a harsh person you want to knock out.  Goodness is a virtue that is becoming while evil is beguiling.   One with a servant’s heart is incredible, but intolerable are the ego centric.

I know a young single woman who is both physically attractive and also has a sweet wonderful heart.   I have wondered when some intelligent young man would recognize her for what she is. 

Such a guy seems to have come along.  He recently pitched a party for her, to get to know her friends.  He stood before us all and gushed over her amazing Christian character – and then – he popped the question – right there in front of us all.

I had to choke back joyful tears.  It was a perfect match.  She had tended to her heart and he was captivated by it.  She said yes! 

A survey found that most of us spend between 11 to 30 minutes each morning getting ready for the day.   21% of men and 38% of women take over 30 minutes.  (Lifestyle, July 10th, 2012; Kate Palmer).  It takes times to look good!

What if we were to take the time that we invest in our morning routine and give an equal amount of time to the inner person?  We could read the Scripture, pray for our friends, text an encouragement to a struggler or even pour a coffee to go for a coworker.

That would be kinda like taking a can of spiritual Scrubbing Bubbles and applying it to our hearts. 

Naw. It would be better than that!  So shall we?